Bachmann introduces cormorant management legislation

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Congressman Collin Peterson recently introduced the Cormorant Management and Natural Resources Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation will help cut through the bureaucratic red tape that prevents states from managing destructive double-crested cormorants in an effective, timely, and site-specific fashion.
Congressman John Kline originally introduced this legislation in the last Congress in response to the cormorant problem affecting Waconia. Due to redistricting, Waconia is now part of Minnesota’s Sixth District, represented by Bachmann. Similarly, Congressman Peterson also has cormorant problem areas in Minnesota’s Seventh District.
“The United States is home to beautiful parks, lakes, and abundant wildlife,” Bachmann said. “Unfortunately, exploding populations of the federally-protected cormorants are destroying recreational areas and fisheries across the country during their migration. Yet when concerned citizens look to their state governments for help in protecting their private land or favorite vacation spots, the states’ hands are tied with one layer of bureaucratic red tape after another. I look forward to continuing Congressman Kline’s work, in concert with Waconia Mayor Jim Nash, to remove the bureaucratic barriers that inhibit thoughtful action on behalf of local governments.”
Said Peterson: “I have sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to help manage excessive cormorant populations since my first term in office in 1991, and have been trying for years to work with people on both sides of the issue to come up with a management solution that will solve this problem. I believe Rep. Bachmann and I have a good bill here that makes a lot of sense.”
Currently, the cormorant is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which requires a lengthy permit process through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service and often the respective state’s Department of Natural Resources, in order for the birds to be removed from private land.
The Cormorant Management and Natural Resources Protection Act would empower the states to better manage overpopulation of these birds by delegating the authority to do so to those governors who submit treaty-compliant management plans to the Secretary of the Interior. These plans would be subject to prompt review and approval or disapproval by the Secretary, and approved plans would be reviewed every five years. The legislation also addresses issues surrounding aquaculture feeding grounds and efforts to prevent cormorant proliferation.
Waconia Mayor Jim Nash said he pleased with the act.
“I’m pleased to see that Rep. Bachmann is authoring the Cormorant Management and Natural Resources Act,” he said. “Cormorants continue to be a problem in Waconia, across Minnesota, and throughout the United States. The legislation is a common sense approach to alleviate red tape in managing the cormorant population so that they do not adversely impact important fisheries like Waconia. The Waconia City Council supports this legislation through resolution and are hopeful that it will receive broad support.”